New faces, same team: Hawks look to continue mediocrity after busy offseason


Nadya Awino

The new face of the Hawks includes big man Dwight Howard as well as Dennis Schroder at the starting position.

Emmett Schindler, Editor-in-Chief

The 2016-17 NBA season edges near and it seems as if every team looks completely different from last season, particularly the Atlanta Hawks, who have signed, traded, and departed with many players this offseason.

The second after the Hawks lost game four to Cleveland in the second round of the playoffs, the talk of Al Horford and Jeff Teague’s career on the Hawks sparked. Horford entered last season in the last year of his four-year contract, with fans already worrying about his departing. Still, despite many other players, Horford wanted to play one more season with his first NBA team, leaving an unforgettable mark in Atlanta before taking his next step in Boston.

On the other hand, “Teague Time” had just about ran out. In early February, Teague decided to delete all the Hawks affiliated photos off his Instagram, giving the Hawks the impression that he wants out. Nonetheless, the Hawks traded him right before the 2016 NBA Draft, sending him off to Indiana in a three team trade in which Atlanta received the twelfth overall pick.   

“Horford was a main centerpiece for the Hawks offense and defense, but it seems as if he reached his ceiling. Same with Teague, yeah he is a slasher, but you feel like you know what you’re gonna get with him and there isn’t much potential left,” senior Amanuel Kefetew said.

With Teague gone, Dennis Schroder plans to take the starting role in his third year in the league. With Horford no longer there, though, who better to replace the center than hometown superstar Dwight Howard? Talk of Howard coming to Atlanta started before he went from Los Angeles to Houston in 2013. After they failed to land him then, they saw another chance this offseason as he listed as a free agent again, finally getting him to sign a three year, $70.5 million contract.

“With the addition of Dwight Howard, our team has a new dimension, we finally have an aggressive center and he can rebound, Horford wasn’t aggressive in the paint and was undersized,” Kefetew said.

Other key additions and signings included the contract extension of forward Kent Bazemore, making it four years for $75 million, signing veteran point guard Jarrett Jack to back up Schroder, and popular draft picks such as Saint Joseph’s Deandre Bembry and Baylor’s Taurean Prince.  

“Our two draft picks seem to be solid fits to what we are building here in Atlanta, Prince and Bembry are two big “3’s” which we needed desperately,” Kefetew said.

The Hawks look completely different for the first time since they drafted Horford. The usual Horford and Teague combo with a strong shooting cast now goes away, and the fate of the Hawk’s success lies in the hands of Howard, Paul Millsap, Schroder, and Bazemore.

I predict the Hawks will finish worse than last year, but still make the playoffs around the sixth or seventh seed. They need a couple years to build up chemistry and find out the main needs in the roster. Led by strong head coach Mike Budenholzer, the Hawks look to continue their yearly mediocrity and make the playoffs with new faces up front.